What Are the Elements and Why Do We Use Them?
Before we go any further, lets go ahead and discuss the elements and why we use them. I'm sure by now you understand that there are actually Five; Water, Fire, Earth, Air, and Spirit. These are represented in the pentacle and pentagrams you'll see many witches and Pagans wear. (Pentacles are the star in a circle. Pentagrams are just the star.) These five elements are all connected and used to create life and everything around us. These same elements are used to borrow the energy from when we cast spells and create our intent to send out to the universe. Each energy has it's own effect and use. Some witches and Pagans work best with certain ones. Others will try to incorporate them all into their spells and even their altars. Even as a more Traditional Pagan, I use the same format, or a like one for my own sacred space.
The elements have a place in every part of witchcraft. They can be summed to assist, used in a more literal sense, and also be used through other items such as herbs or tools. They are the essential building block to everything you will learn and are by far the very most important to understand and study. I cannot stress that last sentence enough.
How Do We Use the Elements?
Like I said, we use them in many different ways. We decorate our altars or sacred spaces with chalices, incense holders, candles, and stones or wood along with some form or deity or higher power. Even the more folk practices use all of them either through deity representation, offerings or in the construction of the houses they make for the spirits. It's always been used and understood that the elements are life's energy itself and live in and create everything around us. Each element does have it's own personality, though.
Air - I KNOW
Best Used for
: Wishes, Study, Travel (Astral and Physical), Learning, Freedom, Teaching, Finding lost items, Divination, Visualization, Wind Magick, Body
: Lungs, Mouth, Mind, EarsCardinal Direction
: Griffons, Sprites, SlyphsColor
: Yellow, WhiteHerbs
: Spring flowers and other super fragrant plants, Acacia, Agrimony, Almond, Anise, Bluebell, Blowball, Dill, Eyebright, Fennel, Goldenrod, Hazel, Lavender, Lungwort, Mistletoe, Nutmeg, Oregano, Parsely, Peppermint, Sage, WormwoodIt is
: Active and MasculineManifestation
: Sounds, Wind, Breath, Thought, Communication, Knowledge, SecretsMetal
: Copper, Iron, TinSeason
: Clear quartz and other translucent stones, Amethyst, Citrine, Fuschite, Mica, Turquoise
: SwordsTime of the Day
: Dawn, 5 am - 10 am.Zodiac
: Aquarius, Gemini, Libra
Without air, we simply would cease to exist, so approach it with the upmost respect. Without air we wouldn't have flight, movement, or sounds necessary for music and communication. Secrets and wishes can be kept or manifested using air. Birds are also a used to represent it, as well as other creatures that take flight, especially song birds. Spring is the newness of the earth. It gives life back to the world in the same way breathing awakens a new born. It can destroy just as quickly though, in the form of tornadoes, severe wind gusts, and death, itself.
Wind Witches work specifically with this element. As a person, it can represent someone who is a little lofty, curious, and studious. At the worst they can come off as emotionally detached because they are so caught up in the "I Know" that they forgot what "I Feel". They're unique and rebellious in a progressive way, though as a younger person, it may be more of a "I know better than you" typical sass. They can dominate a conversation, but on purpose. They want to discuss what they learned that say. While they love to communicate, they can be loners and take a back seat in more public settings. They'll feed a movement, but they'll rarely lead it.
To clean or consecrate an item or space, vibrations, song, or smoke from smudge bundles and incense can be used. It's represented on the altar with smoke or a form of sound.
Earth - I UNDERSTAND
Best Used for : Abundance, Binding, Career, Crystals, Fertility, Gain, Gardening, Home, Kitchen Magick, Knot Magick, Health, Prosperity, Wealth
Body : Bile, Stomach
Cardinal Correspondence : North
Color : Brown and Green
Creatures : Dryads, Dragons, Fauns, Gnomes, Giants, Goblins, Troll
Herbs : Grains, Honeysuckle, Ivy, Mushrooms, Patchouli, Potaotes, Red Poppy, Rice, Wheat, Vetiver
It is : Passive and Feminine
Manifestation : Ancestors, Fertility, Grounding, Household, Prosperity, Protection
Metal : Lead and Mercury
Season : Autumn
Stones : Emerald, Flourite, Halite, Jade, Loadstone, Peridot, Onyx
Tarot : Pentacles Suit
Time of Day : Dusk, 5 pm - 10 pm
Zodiac : Capricorn, Taurus, Virgo
Earth is home. It gives us the supplies to build and shield ourselves, to clothe our backs, and the very crops, animals, and foods we eat. It IS the herbs we use in everything from cooking to healing; even with modern medicine. It is bountiful if we work with it and showers us with abundance when we put the effort into that work. It gives us glory. It also provides us with wealth in the form of metals such as gold and silver.
Earthy Witches are often busy bodies. They are all about work and often little play, but that doesn't mean they aren't fun. They can light hearted and giving, more the caregiver personified in many ways. They can be stubborn, stern, and stuck in their ways, but they are are always loving and doing what's best for the family as opposed to being selfish. However, they will expect the same in return if they ever need it. They should take are to remember that meditation, or even just a break, isn't going to ruin their goals. They are known for making things happen, but through careful planning. Negatively, they can be greedy, materialistic, and narrow-minded. "My way or the highway" can be heard or felt loudly when out of sync. They are usually grounded and when they get out of balance, returning to the earth is necessary.
To cleanse or consecrate an area or tool, most will use salt, but willow branches and the wood itself works as well. I would also suggest even Palo Santo, thought it can be used as both an air or earth item, in my opinion. It's represented on the altar with wood, crystals, a bowl of salt, or dirt.
Fire - I AM
Best Used for
: Banishing, Creativity, Empowering, Exorcism, Protection, Purification, Tantra, Revenge, Sex, Success, Will
Body : Blood, Head
Cardinal Correspondence : South
Color : Red and Orange
Creatures : Dijinn, Dragon, Phoenix Salamander
Herbs : Allspice, Basil, Cacti, Chili Pepper, Cinnamon, Coffee, Dragon's Blood, Frankincense, Garlic, Juniper, Mustard, Nettle, Onion, Red Pepper, Sunflower, Tobacco
It is : Active and Masculine
Manifestation : Action, Anger, Courage, Destruction, Energy Work, Invention, Innovation, Passion, Sex, Strength, Transformation,
Metal : Brass, Gold, Steel
Season : Summer
Stones : Amber, Diamond, Garnet, Lava Stones, Ruby, Sunstone, Tiger's Eye
Tarot : Wands Suit
Time of Day : Day Time, 11 am - 4 pm
Zodiac : Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Fire was often used as the best way to communicate with the gods. That's why you see most spells prefer that you burn wishes or manifestation requests. Fire is a volatile element. It's only has safe as you keep it and if it can find a way to break free it will. It is there to keep us safe and helped us develop our frontal lobe through cooked foods, but it can just as quickly be severely damaging.
Fire Witches can be just as crazy. They are passionate lovers and wear their emotions on the other person's sleeves. Often energetic to the point manic, at worst, jumping head first into most of life's choices without a plan. That's not to say they aren't good people, or intelligent, in fact, they're often rather lucky or wonderful at thinking on their feet so they can stick the landing. They can be fearless and are often the daredevils who volunteer to be the first in the tank to swim with the sharks. When unbalanced, they can be greedy, vengeful, destructive (even to themselves), egotistical, and even abusive.
You can run things through fire to cleanse them and are usually represented on the altar as a candle, but blades and wands are others.
Spirit - I ASCENDED
Best Used for : Ancestors, Connecting as a Whole, Path Work, Religious (Dedication, Initiation), Spiritual, Spirit Animals
Body : Soul, Higher Self
Cardinal Correspondence : Center
Color : Black, Purple, White
Creatures : Sphinx, Snake Devouring Itself, Unicorn
Herbs : Apples, Vervain
It is : Androgynous
Manifestation : All forms of Magick, Alchemy, Change, Divinity, Unification
Season : All
Stones : Jet, Metorite, Onyx, Obsidian
Tarot : All Major Arcana
Time of Day : Midnight and Noon
This element is the inclusion of all elements. It can also be considered as the connection we have to the divine, our ancestors, and those that come after us. This is the web of fate. The never-ending wheel continuing to turn despite what's around it. It is unaffected by the living and the dead. So, what does it do? Well, it does everything. Remember that one published article stating that we are all star dust, or that we have some in our genetic make up? Spirit is that star dust we all share. It's the Eden Adam and Eve left, the apple they ate of, and the gods themselves who let them do so for the sake of free will. It's the cycle of life and death while being the promise of the afterlife.
I haven't met any witch that really specializes in this element. I would probably say, if there were any, they would be adept with all of them or be super religious, like a priest/ess or even a nun type archetype.
It's represented by the cauldron on the altar. As far as cleansing, maybe filling it with water, smoke, or salt would work. Or placing the item inside and asking for the deities blessing.
Water - I FEEL
Best Used for : Astral Travel, Divination, Dreams, Fertility, Healing, Love Magick, Lucid Dreaming, Mirror Scrying, Psychic Powers, Wisdom
Body : Bones, Ears, Kidneys, Subconscious
Cardinal Correspondence : West
Color : Blue and Silver
Creatures : Fae, Merpeople, Nymphs, Sea Monsters, Undines
Herbs : Aloe, Balm of Gilead, Burdock, Belladonna, Clotsfoot, Fern, Gardania Lemon, Lotus, Moss, Mytrle, Periwinkle, Seaweed, Spearmint, Violet, Water Lily, Yarrow
It is : Passive and Feminine
Manifestation : Cleansing, Compassion, Death/Rebirth, Dreams, Emotional, Healing
Metal : Copper, Silver
Season : Winter
Stones : Aquamarine, Coral, Lapis, Limestone, Moonstone, Pearl
Tarot : Cups Suit
Time of Day : Night, 11 pm - 4 am
Zodiac : Cancer, Pieces, Scorpio
The world and our bodies are 70% water and water is often controlled by the moon. That's to say, that we and the world around us is greatly influenced by emotion as well as the Moon deities. The moon is often seen as the unknown,while also being the ultimate feminine symbol because of it's phases. It has hold over our dreams, secrets, and hidden knowledge. Eastern culture says that the soul will cross water when we pass and we see this also in other more Western practices of burial at sea and the river Styx. Even with all of these amazing characteristics of water, too much and we'll drown.
Water Witches can seem a little drifty and odd, as if they have one foot in the present and another just in the future. They are ever flowing, which helps them adapt to changing circumstances. They can also be very open with their feelings, almost to the point of not really thinking things through because they are so busy listening to their heart. They are easy going and usually sociable, easily making friends. When they're feeling out of wack, they can become overly attached and dependent, depressed, or insecure.
Represented on the altar using a cup, seashells, or just a bowl of water. You can cleanse items through a ritual bath or rooms by moping or spraying water the same way you would smudge. Florida water is amazing!
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